A Bond-A-Week Twofer: Ladland

Since I failed to post in this ongoing series last week, I thought I'd make it up (and keep the TV theme from the previous post going) by offering the above Robbie Williams video, "Millenium," from 1999. The song samples John Barry's title song from You Only Live Twice, and the video itself creates a visual correlative to sampling by recontextualizing and parodying elements from several Bond films (I count Goldfinger, Live and Let Die, Moonraker and Thunderball, but you might keep score differently). Released in the late 90s, when Pierce Brosnan's Bond and Mike Myers' Austin Powers were both doing different kinds of homages to Bond's sixties past, Williams' video seems to split the tonal difference. It's certainly poking fun at Bond's machismo and confidence (the faulty jetpack is the most dramatic symbol, but I also like the high-tech briefcase that holds nothing more deadly than a schoolboy's lunch), and Williams' cherubic face and constant laughter contribute to the air of childish good fun. At the same time, the visual and sonic sampling both suggest a great deal of affection and admiration, and certainly the increasingly dense layering of references requires a Sick Boy-like knowledge about Bond's history. In mocking individual elements of the Bond mystique, the video is very careful to simultaneously recuperate the air of cool they still evoke, and to deploy it to build up Williams' own public persona: a constant loop of laddish savoir-faire that runs throughout the night.


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